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More information about Washington – Online Casinos & Gambling Regulations

Table of Contents

Find the best American casino online

If you want to play casino games in Washington, we recommend doing proper research online before heading out. You can legally play at around 35 tribal casinos. Some of them offer state-of-the-art facilities for gambling and entertainment, while others might be relatively basic. Another thing to keep in mind is that the legal gambling age is 18. But beware! Some casinos restrict their gaming floors to guests of the age of 21 and older. 

Online gambling is illegal and can be punished with harsh sentences. While it is possible to sign up at foreign-based online casinos, we highly advise against it as the risk is hardly worth it. You can find out more about this topic later on in this guide.   

  • Be aware of the legal situation before playing online!
  • Check the jurisdiction of the online casino
  • Does the casino accept players from Washington?
  • Do you have access to the accepted payment methods?
  • Is the casino properly licensed to ensure fair gaming?
  • The minimum age for gambling in nearby Washington is 18
  • Some casinos only accept players over the age of 21

In order to find out more about the best international online casinos that accept players from Washington, we recommend that you check out our GoodLuckMate top lists and casino reviews.

Gambling regulation – Washington State Gambling Commission

Washington has several legal options for gambling. However, this is mostly reserved for special tribal areas. At the time of writing, then, you can legally visit one of the 35 Indian casinos owned by some 25 Native American tribes that are located across Washington's 15 counties. These tribal casinos are fully recognized by the U.S. Interior Department. They are regulated by the Washington State Gambling Commission. Outside the tribal areas gambling is mostly illegal, with the exceptions of charitable gambling, horse racing, and the state lottery – the latter includes daily keno, Hit 5, Lotto, Mega Millions, Powerball, and scratch-offs. While horse racing is legal in Washington, greyhound racing is explicitly banned. 

The state made headlines in 2006 when they outlawed online poker and online casino games. These kinds of activities are now considered to be a felony and can result in up to 10 years in prison time or up to $20,000 in fines. Most states in the US do not really follow through on this, but Washington does not take this lightly. One individual was even prosecuted over a fantasy NASCAR website, for example, so you gamble in this way entirely at your own risk. 

Localized online casinos

Due to the harsh stance on online gambling within Washington, you won’t be able to find any online casinos that are specifically catering to this market. Even fantasy sports (which are perfectly legal in most other states) are considered to be entirely illegal here. There are certain international online casinos that do accept players from Washington but, as the state doesn’t seem to take this matter lightly, it is not advisable to be playing there. These foreign-based sites fully support the English language, which makes them quite accessible, but one should always consider the risk involved.

Gambling with US dollars

Washington has a large number of tribal casinos that are run by around two dozen tribes. If you are planning on visiting one of the tribal areas, you can legally play there for US dollars without any issues. The same is true for all horse racing tracks and the state lottery. Theoretically, it is quite easy to play at international online casinos in your local currencies as well but, as previously stated, this is illegal in the state and could result in a felony charge.

Casinos in Washington

Online casinos that accept players from Washington are commonly regulated and located in Curaçao, Anjouan, St. Kitts, and Costa Rica, for example. Due to the strict legal situation, we recommend avoiding gambling online as there are plenty of safe and legal alternatives available. Tribal casinos can mostly be found in the western part of the state, near Seattle, and in the eastern part of Washington around Spokane. Popular options include the 12 Tribes Resort Casino, the 7 Cedars Casino Hotel, the Angel of the Winds Casino Resort, the Chewelah Casino, the Coulee Dam Casino, the Elwha River Casino, and the brand new Emerald Queen Casino Tacoma. The casinos greatly vary in size and game selection. The bigger venues are hosting hundreds of table games and slot machines while the smaller casinos can be quite limited in their offer.

  • A gambling license is intended to protect players, and one of its main functions is to provide a mechanism for resolving disputes when they come up. If you have a dispute with a casino, and the casino is being unreasonable, the gambling authority will help you. For many licenses, this means you can contact the gambling authority to get help processing your withdrawals, claiming money the casino has debited from your account, or resolving other disputes that might arise. The likelihood that the gambling authority will help you in ways that are effective, however, depends on the procedures they have in place for this. This is yet another reason why choosing to play at a casino that has a safe license is important.

    Getting help directly from the gambling authority is not always necessary, or even an option. A lot of regulators have now enforced third-party dispute resolution. This means casinos must have an agreement with an arbitrator who will look into disputes on the behalf of players from a particular casino. This ensures your dispute will be reviewed by an objective third party. All trusted online casinos have information about arbitration on their websites if they use this option, or they’ll have the contact information for the gambling authority you should consult. However, you should always try to resolve your issues with the casino first, and a lot of casinos have separate email addresses specifically for handling complaints.

  • If you’re worried about the security of the transactions you’re making at a casino, you should look for a logo with the acronym PCI DSS. This stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, and this is something the payment industry has created. If you see this logo, it means the casino can be trusted for safe money transactions since they follow all of the rules set by the payment industry. Information about this can also be found in an FAQ section on the casino’s website.

    Another thing to look out for in terms of payments is where your money is kept while you play. Some gambling authorities, all of the best ones actually, regulate what the casino can do with your money while they are holding it. Your money shouldn’t go into a general bank account held by the casino; it should go into an account that is strictly for holding player funds. This means that as long as you have the money in your player account, it can’t be spent by the casino. Your deposit will be kept separate from the operating funds of the casino until your player account is empty, which will happen if you make a funds withdrawal or if you lose the money while playing.

  • The best known system tool for ensuring that a casino offers fair games is eCogra; however, there are other providers that also offer these kinds of systems. You want to make sure that the casino is using a certified third-party control system to ensure that the games of chance you’re playing are actually based on chance and not on other types of metrics. Rigged games are ones that have been set up to pay out less than they claim to or ones that give some players a greater chance of winning than others.

    The eCogra logo can often be found in the footer of the casino’s website, but not all casinos choose to display it. If you can’t see this logo, go to the FAQs and see if you can find information about random number generators. If there are no FAQs on the site, check out their terms and conditions or contact the casino’s support and ask how they ensure their games are safe.

  • An SSL-encrypted website should be mandatory for any casino, and very few casinos operate without this or similar safe encryption features. Always keep in mind that you are giving the casino quite a bit of sensitive information, including your payment details. When you’re uploading and sending documents to verify your identity, you want to make sure that no unauthorized third-party has access to them. Site security, therefore, doesn’t only include the website itself but also what the casino does on the backend. You should always look into a casino’s data security. You’ll normally find information about this in their terms and conditions and their privacy policy. If in doubt, contact their support and ask for more detailed information.

    Most trustworthy casinos have information about site security in the website footer, so simply scroll down and look for the logo of a well-known security system.

  • The gambling license a casino operates under will have a big impact on your security. Not all licenses are equally safe for players for the simple reason that they are issued by different gambling authorities that work in different ways and have different rules. The rules and regulations may be quite similar, but the way they are enforced is a different story entirely. For example, if a casino doesn’t comply with the regulations, some gambling authorities may just issue a fine while others may revoke the casino’s license outright. How often gambling authorities show up for an unscheduled inspection or control will also vary.

    The biggest differences between a safe, high quality gambling license and one that isn’t as good will usually show up in the areas of fair gaming, dispute resolution and the rules and systems for identifying and handling problem gamblers (responsible gambling). If your country of residence has its own gambling authority, playing at casinos that are licensed by them will be the safest option for you. Other international licenses that can be trusted are issued by the Malta Gambling Authority and the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. Curacao eGaming is getting better at protecting players whereas licenses from Panama and Costa Rica, for instance, are considered less safe. The worst option is obviously a casino with no license whatsoever.